4-H Animal Projects Grow Youth Skills

Submitted By Quinn Martin, Franklin County 4-H Educator

Remember 4-H? The program still has much to offer children and youth.

Youth involvement in 4-H animal projects offers numerous benefits that contribute to the overall development and growth of young individuals.

These projects provide an opportunity for young people to learn responsibility, gain valuable life skills, and develop a strong work ethic. This is evident throughout Franklin County as 4-H animal science clubs begin to hold their annual Roundups, the pinnacle that each 4-H member works to prepare for with their animal each year.

Feeding young ones—on two and four legs

Participating in 4-H animal projects teaches youth responsibility. Taking care of animals requires commitment and dedication. Young individuals are responsible for feeding, grooming, and providing proper healthcare to their animals.

This responsibility helps them understand the importance of being reliable and accountable for their actions.

Responsibility goes above and beyond a commitment to regularly-scheduled club meetings, as the members commit to meeting the daily needs of the animals. While the length of the commitment is determined by the animal project that the 4-H’er chooses, but no matter the project, the valuable lessons are endless.

Caring for animals requires daily attention and hard work. Children must be

committed to waking up early every morning to feed their animals or staying late at night to clean their stalls. This dedication teaches them the value of hard work and perseverance.

Working towards a goal

The strong work ethic that these experiences build is unparalleled. These projects also offer valuable life skills that can be applied beyond the realm of animal care.

Youth involved in 4-H learn about time management as they balance their schoolwork with the demands of taking care of their animals. They also develop communication skills by interacting with other participants, judges, and spectators during competitions or exhibitions.

There is no greater time to see the hard work evidenced than by attending a 4-H Roundup. In July, the Franklin County 4-H Horse Roundup was held at the Chambersburg Saddle Club.

Here, it was evident that the nineteen 4-H members competing with their animals had spent a significant amount of time working with their animals throughout the year. It is an incredible experience to watch a competitive event where the youth participant not only worked to prepare themselves, but also prepared an animal, often much larger than themselves, as well.

While not everyone will accomplish exactly what they set out for, you can watch the lessons soak in as the youth proudly exhibit their animals. At the conclusion of the County Horse Roundup, nine Franklin County members qualified and chose to move on to the district level show, which they attended in August.

If you are willing to invest some time to see the epitome of hard work become evident right here in Franklin County, I encourage you to attend a Franklin County 4-H Roundup.

The 4-H Beef Club exhibit their projects at Greencastle Livestock Auction on Saturday,

Sept. 23 at 10:30 a.m. For more information on local 4-H clubs and activities, contact your local chapter of Penn State Extension.

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